Tonawanda’s Huntley plant sale falls through: ‘Not a good day for the town’

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The deal to sell the shuttered Huntley Generating Station in the Town of Tonawanda is off.

NRG Energy and WB Huntley Redevelopment announced Tuesday that the sale of the plant site and landfill has been “suspended.”

“It’s not a good day for the town,” Supervisor Joseph Emminger said.

Emminger said NRG told him Tuesday afternoon that the deal fell through, although the company’s statement in a press release used the word “suspended.”

“What does that mean?” Emminger asked. “Suspended usually means it’s on hold.”

He said he had met the buyer once with NRG representatives, and he will be reaching out to him.

“That parcel is key to our future,” Emminger said.

NRG announced in April 2019 that it had found a buyer for the plant, and it later identified the buyer as a limited liability company tied to WarrenBrook Redevelopment.

NRG also said it remains committed to finding a buyer.

“While we are disappointed with this outcome, we appreciate the continued support of the town and the community during this process,” according to NRG’s statement.

Emminger said NRG representatives agreed to meet virtually with town officials in the next several weeks.

The electric generating coal plant, once the town’s largest taxpayer, opened in 1916. NRG shut it down in 2016. The company paid a little over $2 million in taxes that year. The town reached an agreement on the plant’s assessment, and a state mitigation fund is providing money to offset the loss of the tax revenue from the coal-fired plant.

The state funding will end in 2023, Emminger said, “which is why we were pushing to get that site redeveloped.”

The town earlier had looked into taking over the generating station through eminent domain, and the supervisor said it might revisit that option.

“Real estate deals fall apart every day of the week,” Emminger said, adding he looks forward to meeting with NRG “so they can explain some of the difficulties they encountered with the potential purchase.”

Published by The Buffalo News

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